Breast Cancer Awareness Month Reflections  

I feel so blessed to be able to step out of Zoom and back into in-person events again, that I made it a priority to speak about my breast cancer journey to as many people as possible this Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’ve already spoken at several events like the Pink Alliance’s signature fundraiser, Surviving & Thriving Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon, at the end of September. Being in front of a room full of women again brings me so much joy, even though we’re gathered to talk about such a difficult topic.

I’ve been connecting with so many women again and I’m excited to take the stage,  share my story, and hear from other cancer patients, survivors, and supporters.  I can’t ignore the hand of  G-d that was guiding me throughout my journey – from the insistent staff at Northside Breast Care Center who would not let me push off that lifesaving mammogram; to being diagnosed the morning of my husband’s cancer surgery – which meant I already had a surgeon I trusted ready to perform my surgery. I  was so very lucky;   I  was diagnosed with two types of breast cancer: one was ductal carcinoma in situ and the other was infiltrating lobular carcinoma, which is rare and more aggressive. Both were growing really fast, and I’d had a clean mammogram only twelve months earlier.

Lori Allen prepares for a speaking event for breast cancer awareness month
  • I often think about that when I look at the post-COVID breast cancer numbers. Did you know that in 2020, there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and 685,000 deaths globally? Let that number sit with you for a minute. It’s sobering and frightening. When the global pandemic hit in March 2020, it affected all aspects of our lives, but especially screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care for breast cancer.

    Last October, while we were all grounded because of the pandemic, I could not stop worrying about all the women who weren’t being diagnosed or who were faced with delayed surgeries and treatment. It’s heartbreaking especially since vigilance about our breast health is the most proactive thing we can do as women.

    Today, I focus on what we can do and how my story can help women of all ages take control of their health. Please, don’t delay that mammogram, no matter what you have going on in your life. I know that life is so very hectic these days – we are all still struggling to get back into some semblance of normalcy and routine – but you need to make yourself a priority.

    I’ve met women who have shared that their afraid of a possible breast cancer diagnosis, and so they delay their mammograms. I get that fear, believe me, I totally understand how frightening a cancer diagnosis can be. But you can’t stick your head in the sand when it comes to breast cancer. The reality is that 1 in 8 women in their lifetime will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and that’s just a statistic we cannot ignore. So truly ask yourself, what’s worse? Knowing and then dealing with the reality that may include surgery and treatment or not knowing and then finding out when treatment might be too late?

    If you aren’t able to join one of my talks this month, check out this blog post that I wrote last year. It includes some of the highlights from my speeches about breast cancer awareness and survivorship.

    Are you a survivor, caregiver or have you recently been diagnosed? I’d love to hear from you; share your story with us in the comments!

    And ladies, schedule those mammograms!

Tell Next Time,

Lori Allen

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